Silicom: Cheap, Cash Rich And Profitable

Jul.23.09 | About: Silicom Ltd (SILC)

Silicom (NASDAQ:SILC) makes components for specialized servers and application appliances. Part of their business serves the still growing WAN optimization market (see RVBD and BCSI), part of their business provides commodity products and an emerging part is providing new products to move SILC up the value chain.

Margin of safety. Normally, a micro cap provider of commodity electronics would not excite me… but check out these financial stats: Market cap of $49.1 million ($7.22 a share), $40 million in cash in the bank ($5.88 a share), enterprise value of $9.1 million ($1.40 a share), TTM earnings of $3.7 million ($0.56 a share). EV/Earnings – 2.5! Compared to the potential (e.g. $1.02 a share in 2007), it is conceivable that SILC could earn more than its EV in a single year (e.g. 2010 or 2011).

Profitable during the crisis. While many companies have been taking big hits to earnings during the ongoing crisis, SILC has remained profitable. Admittedly, visibility is very low and revenue has suffered but they continue to sign up new customers -- including a tier 1 manufacturer.

Catalysts. The SILC Q2 earnings report is on Monday July 27th – a positive report would be a catalyst for the stock. Downside is mitigated by the $6 a share in cash, and upside could be quite large if the company shows revenue and earnings growth in the quarter. Other potential catalysts include new analyst coverage, potential for share buybacks, new customer announcements and new products. Lastly, the company’s founders, the Zisapel brothers, currently own almost 30% of the company. They may continue to buy more stock or buy out the company completely.

Risks:

  • Q2 could be a disaster – the economic environment has been bad, bad, bad

  • Commodity producer – may need to lower prices or risk losing customers

  • SILC would be a victim of U.S. Dollar weakness or Shekel strength

  • Micro cap stock – extremely low liquidity – don’t invest if you need the money

Bottom Line. SILC is a very speculative investment with a good risk to reward profile. It could dive below $6 (as it did in October of last year), but should recover to cash in the bank quickly. I would not expect to hold this for the long term, but rather until the price becomes more in line with the company’s assets and performance.

Disclosure: I am long SILC at the time of this writing – 7/22/09